A better film program needed

Students should be able to study film production inside their four-year degrees.

The University is hurting for a much-desired film program. The only option for students interested in a film production major is a Bachelor’s of Arts degree called “studies in cinema and media culture.” This program might look great to an outsider. But it focuses on cultural contexts, history and theory of cinema, with little exposure to the production aspect of film.

This is fine for someone who doesn’t actually want to make films, and just learn about them. But for an aspiring filmmaker, this major just does not cut it.

Besides select required classes, a student in the program chooses from lists of classes given within other departments that meet the requirements of the major to piece together a film education. What the University offers doesn’t include classes comparable to the film production coursework one could undertake at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. University students should be able to study film production education inside their four-year accredited degree.

The absence of a more comprehensive film program is becoming increasingly apparent. There is a new club at the University, the University Motion Picture Club, opening its membership to filmmakers on campus and the surrounding community. The start of this club demonstrates the considerable area interest in a better film program. Students who want to be filmmakers must resort to creating their own resources, giving up a lot of time and money to make it work.

The University is one of the largest higher-education institutions in the country and should have a film program that includes all the components: acting, writing, theory and critical analysis, and production. Admittedly, most students would have to go elsewhere to perform their crafts professionally, at least in the short term.

Film production coursework would obviously require substantial University funding, but the response by students to it would be sufficient to justify the expenditure.

The University is rich in diversity and culture, and the Twin Cities has a decent local cinema community with room to grow. This is a great environment for a prospective film program.

As students here, we are offered an all-you-can-eat buffet of majors and minors to choose from. A strong film program is not on the table yet, though in recent years, interest in the field from all over the country has increased.

Hopefully, this will change in the future.